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Bangladesh Bank yesterday gave approval to four private sector companies to take loans from foreign sources, with Grameenphone Ltd being one of the companies.

The country's largest mobile phone operator will borrow $355 million, which, according to a senior official of the company, will be used to upgrade the network for the rollout of 3G services.

Mundipharma (Bangladesh) Ltd, Dada (Dhaka) Ltd and Tamisha Synthetic Ltd are the other companies to get the green signal from BB to borrow -- $0.61 million, $4 million and $3.67 million respectively -- from sources overseas.

The highest interest rate of the approved proposals is 3-month LIBOR+4 percent per annum, with the effective interest rate being within 4.32 percent per annum, said a BB statement.

“This type of foreign financing will be helpful to keep the dollar price stable. The balance of payment deficit will decrease and it will create more job opportunity for the country,” added the statement.

Earlier last month, Grameenphone borrowed Tk 846 crore from 15 banks and financial institutions in Bangladesh as syndicated term loan for network expansion.

The nod to borrow comes at a time when the government is working to fix the base price for the 3G auction to disburse licences, to four private mobile operators, by early next year.

The telecom ministry has proposed $20 million for per Megahertz (MHz) of spectrum as the base price, with the licensees having the opportunity to purchase between 5 and 15 MHz of spectrum.

The borrowing approvals came at the 70th meeting of the Board of Investment Scrutiny Committee of the BB at its headquarters in Dhaka.

The meeting was presided over by the BB governor Dr Atiur Rahman, who is also the convener of the committee.

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